A number of years ago I first ran across a bottle of Pillar Box Red. This Australian blend was well priced and tasty. Since that time I’ve gone back to it on numerous occasions, recommended to people and had the opportunity to taste it alongside its winemaker. Most compelling for a wine in its price-point is how consistent its quality and general flavor profile has been from year to year. This isn’t often the case with wines around the $10 mark. Last week I had dinner with Henry’s Drive winemaker Renae Hirsch and Winery owner Kim Longbottom. We tasted through much of their current portfolio, including classics like Dead Letter Office and Parson’s Flat as well as The Scarlett Letter a Sparkling Shiraz that’s new for them. Across the board the Henry’s Drive wines are well made and appropriately priced for the quality they offer at each level. In many cases their wines over deliver. One of the wines that really outperforms its price-point is The Morse Code Chardonnay. This is one of the few wines we tasted that night which I had not sampled previously. The Henry’s Drive 2010 Morse Code Chardonnay was produced using fruit sourced in the Padthaway region of Australia. This offering is 100% Chardonnay. A small amount of oak was used in the production of this wine. 5,600 cases of the 2010 vintage were produced and it has a suggested retail price of $8.99.
Ripe orchard fruit aromas leap from the glass of this Chardonnay. A host of both tropical and continued orchard fruit flavors are present on the incredibly pleasing palate of this wine. Pear, pineapple, apple and a hint of papaya are all in evidence along with a core of spices such as nutmeg, clove and vanilla bean. The finish is crisp and refreshing with terrific acidity and good length. This wine is delicious on it’s own but will pair well with lighter foods.
The bottom line for me on the Morse Code Chardonnay is that it’s a steal. This wine is loaded with Chardonnay character. The subtle amount of oak used, adds some complexity as it should, but never detracts. You’re going to be hard pressed to find a Chardonnay for less than $10 that provides as much varietal character, purity of fruit and just sheer delicious drinkability as this wine. If you need a house white wine for the summer a case of Morse Code Chardonnay is a great bet.
The Henry’s Drive Wines provide quality, distinction and value at every price point. Whether you’re spending $8.99 on the Morse Code Chardonnay, or $49.99 on the Reserve Shiraz you’re going to get value for your money. And with them continuing to push the envelope adding new and exciting releases like “The Scarlett Letter,” a delicious Sparking Shiraz, the folks at Henry’s Drive always have something compelling for wine lovers to sample. Buy their wines with the confidence that they are one of Australia’s best and most consumer friendly producers. If you’re a fan of Australian Wine, there’s no doubt in my mind their portfolio has something you’ll be interested in.